THUA THIEN-HUE — The central province of Thua Thien-Hue is seeking funding of about VND100 billion (US$4.8 million) for a project to restore and renovate the Ngo Mon (Noon Gate), one of the main structures of the former Royal Capital City of Hue.
|Iconic monument: The Noon Gate, which stands in front of the Throne Hall in the former Royal Capital of Hue. — VNA/VNS Photo Thai Loc
Nguyen Van Binh, Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam, has pledged financial support for the project to renovate the Noon Gate, recognised as an iconic symbol of Hue, said Phan Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre.
Works on the Noon Gate Preservation Project, prepared by the Viet Nam Institute for Monuments Conservation, will begin when the provincial authorities receive the needed financial support, Hai said. The work is expected to last two years, he added.
The structure, which was seriously damaged during the decades of war against the French and Americans, has undergone several restorations, the last of which was carried out between 1991 and 1992 with funding of $100,000 from the Japanese Government.
Located in front of the Throne Palace and facing the Flag Tower, Noon Gate is the main entrance to the old Imperial City of Hue.
It is a huge U-shaped construction consisting of two parts: a brick and stone foundation below and a wooden pavilion above that is roofed with terracotta tiles.
The longest and widest sides of this 5.2m high foundation are 50m and 27m, respectively. The top can be accessed through two open stone staircases on both sides.
There are five entrances to the citadel, the main one being Noon Gate, paved with stone from central province of Thanh Hoa, with red-lacquered doors reserved for the Emperor. Two side-entrances, the left and right gates, were for civil and military mandarins. Inside the structure are two more gates used by soldiers, elephants, and horses for the royal procession.
The upper part is known as the Ngu Phung Pavilion (Pavilion of Five Phoenixes), which is flanked by two belvederes of two storeys each.
The upper storey has several wooden partitions and was exclusively reserved for the Queen Mother and the king's wives. They could look through windows shaped like circles, gongs or fans, but blinds prevented them from being seen from the outside.
The lower storey was left open except for the middle compartment, which was panelled and had glass doors. The king sat here on festive occasions. Behind his seat were a big bell and a large drum. The drum was often used to announce the closing time of the Imperial City.
Noon Gate is also the site where the king gave audiences to his subjects, and events like the ceremony of Proclamation of Doctors' Lists in the mandarin examinations and the Calendar Offering Day were held. — VNS